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Court Allows Mesothelioma Victim's Case to Move Forward

Mesothelioma is a rare and fatal form of cancer that is caused almost exclusively by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos was widely used in manufacturing and construction throughout the first half of the 20th century and beyond, but since its dangers were discovered that use has been significantly curtailed and there have been numerous lawsuits filed against the companies that included asbestos in their products. Despite the extensive evidence that asbestos companies were aware of its dangers – and billions in damages being awarded to victims – these companies continue to defend against mesothelioma lawsuits, fighting at every turn against having to answer for their negligence. Fortunately, the courts are careful in their examination of the facts, as can be seen in a recent case that was heard by the Appellate Court of Illinois.

The family of Ronnie Startley, a workman who had used asbestos products for years, filed a mesothelioma lawsuit against Welco Manufacturing Company. They argued that the company had a duty to warn of its product’s dangers. Though the company successfully argued against having to answer to these charges, an appellate court overturned that decision and said that the family could proceed with its lawsuit. A new trial will be held.

Though the court that originally heard the case had decided that Startley’s family had not met its burden to prove that their product was involved in his illness, the appellate court disagreed, stating that Startley’s family had provided sufficient evidence to show that Welco’s product contained the type of asbestos that had caused his illness. They stated that they had shown that Welco’s asbestos was frequently used and that Startley had in fact worked close enough to it to have been affected by it, despite the fact that the worker could not remember how frequently he had been exposed to it. They based their decision in part on the expert testimony indicating that relatively low levels of exposure were needed to cause the illness. They also indicated that based on previously established information, Welco should have known of the dangers of inhaling asbestos dust since before 1965 and therefore did have a duty to warn of its dangers. The Startley’s case will now proceed to a new trial, providing the family with the opportunity to get justice in the loss of their loved one who died just months after being diagnosed with this terrible illness.

Mesothelioma victims face challenges at every turn. Fortunately there are powerful advocates and numerous resources available to them. For information about the assistance that is available to you, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.



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